“Enjoy the journey and make sure you have the right people supporting you.”
Building a company is a difficult task. Whether starting their own or growing an established business, these leaders have made a name for themselves as some of the best of the best. So, what makes business leaders tick and what are they aiming to achieve when all is said and done? We spoke to Sylvia Smit, the CEO & Founder of AI-powered wellness watch mymonX, about her journey in business.
When did you establish your business and what inspired you to set it up?
The mymonX was launched earlier this year, but is a culmination of years of in-depth medical research and clinical trials. It is an AI-powered health and wellness smartwatch that is designed to empower people to take proactive control of their health right from their wrist by providing a full and continuous overview of their vitals in real-time.
After spending over 20 years working in the financial services sector, I founded AITIS – a deep-tech AI innovation company which focuses on the applications of AI across industries. mymonX was created from our R&D work into AI-enabled risk assessments in health. With more than 25% of chronic wounds, like diabetic foot ulcers, and where diabetes contributes to significant healthcare and economic burdens worldwide, we wanted to create a non-invasive glucose monitoring (mmol/L) that can help people better manage their glucose levels.
Our AI-based, non-invasive glucose monitoring is a first of its kind – helping people to manage their blood sugar levels, identify trends, and make positive lifestyle adjustments to their diet and physical activity from our medically reviewed personalised monthly reports. Our aim is to continue to do ground-breaking work to be able to tell our users if they are unwell or will be unwell, and why, all in a reliable and accessible way.
Did you always want to be an entrepreneur or did the desire develop over time?
I have always been fascinated with the link between technology, innovation, and change. Following a successful career in the financial sector – co-founding Delta Capita and growing it to a global company with over 1000 employees – I took an interest in technology and its potential in the health sector to start my own company with a focus on AI innovation.
mymonX was born out of the desire to help people, and entrepreneurship came second. That’s why I’ve worked with the most talented professionals in the space, to build products that solve real problems. I’m extremely excited about where the business is going.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career and how have you overcome them?
All of us face significant personal and professional challenges that can impact our careers. The key is to stay focused and continue to work hard every day. Enjoy the journey and make sure you have the right people supporting you on that journey.
In my case, I wanted to use my past experience to create AI solutions to save or improve lives. It is always a big risk, both personally and financially, but that did not deter me and look at our amazing achievements to date. In addition, I also had a strong group of advisors supporting me throughout providing me with their perspectives, but also challenging me to keep improving.
Is there anything you wish you knew before you first started out?
I always had a plan for my career trajectory and initially this was in financial services. Having the opportunity to co-found a company that allowed me to see there was a much greater need in healthcare, construction and other verticals, I decided to start AITIS. Our AITIS journey meant we decided to pivot to add products for which there was a real demand.
If there was one thing I wish I knew at the start of my career, it would have been to be more open-minded and network more.
What is your top tip for other entrepreneurs?
The key to not only a successful business but also a journey which you can enjoy is building a strong team around you. Entrepreneurship is a very challenging career decision, and there will be many points where you face obstacles. Having people surrounding you who are equally focused on your mission and the product you want to build is essential. For this reason, my advice would be to carefully consider who you bring with you, and make sure that you are aligned and work well together.
What are your plans for the future?
Of course, one of our main goals is to see the mymonX worn by as many people across the world to empower them to take control of their health. Our recent research showed that only half of British people (54%) understand all the metrics on their wearable devices, which points to a gap in proper use of personal health. In the future, we are looking to expand our product range to continue to address real healthcare challenges in a non-invasive manner.
We also want to see our technology rolled out across medical institutions to make a real impact to medical imaging and diagnosis. Between 2021-2023, we successfully validated our chronic wound AI decision-making models at two hospitals, where our models provide diagnoses via an app, mobile phone or medical system using just an image. We want to continue this momentum and see our technology improve the work of medical practitioners and broader health services everywhere.
What would you like your legacy to be?
My decision to found mymonX and AITIS was based on a deep personal commitment to helping others. We are at such a turning point in the history of the world where we have the technology and AI capabilities to provide implementable, affordable, and proven innovation to improve people’s quality of life within a lifestyle and medical setting.
For this reason, my legacy as an entrepreneur is to make a real difference and keep pushing boundaries and deliver affordable, real-need products to save and improve lives.